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Crunch earn fifth win of season with a tremendous defensive effort

by Turner Batten / Tampa Bay Lightning

The Syracuse Crunch downed the Adirondack Phantoms in their only game this weekend, 4-1, on Friday night behind a stellar performance from the penalty kill unit and goaltender Dustin Tokarski.

Tokarski improved his record to 4-1-1 after stopping 23 out of the 24 shots he faced Friday night.

The Crunch penalty kill was outstanding as they killed all seven power play attempts and limited the chances for the Phantoms during the man advantage.

Cory Conacher kicked off the scoring for the Crunch midway through the first stanza, but the Phantoms would strike seven minutes later to knot the game at one heading into the second period.

The Crunch then came out for the second period on fire.

Richard Panik and Tyler Johnson found the back of the net 1:30 apart to put the Crunch up by two early in the second frame.

With a two-goal lead, the Crunch defense hunkered down and shut out the Phantoms the rest of the way.

Matt Taormina added a shorthanded, empty-net goal with 39 seconds remaining in the game to put the contest out of reach and secure the Crunch victory.

With the win, the Crunch improved to 5-1-1-1, moving them into a tie for the East Division lead with the former Tampa Bay Lightning affiliate, the Norfolk Admirals.

Conacher’s first period goal was his sixth goal and 12th point of the season, which puts him tied for third for points and goals in the AHL. Conacher has also registered a point in every game this season.

Johnson’s sixth goal of the year also moves him into a tie for third in AHL goal-scoring.

The Crunch will take on the Hamilton Bulldogs twice this weekend in an inter-conference series. Syracuse will be at Hamilton on Wednesday, November 7, before traveling to Montreal to face the Bulldogs at the Bell Centre, home of the Montreal Canadiens, on Friday, November 9. The team will return home Saturday, November 10, to take on the Rochester Americans. All games are at 7:30 p.m.

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